Orphans

John 14:18-21 NIV

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Jesus spoke these words to the Apostles and disciples before His crucification and resurrection. Think about that. Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, God’s only begotten Son. “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”

And of course, we know exactly what happened, and they did see Him, and the rest as they say, is history. “Because I live, you also will live.” If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will. We’re not talking about head games here, this is as real as it gets. Jesus rose from the dead. Yes, He performed “miracles”, yes He commanded the elements and the elements obeyed Him, yes He walked on water, yes He taught and showed us of the Father, but this, rising from the dead after being crucified and dead for three days, was the authentication to end all authentications. Nobody, ever, who claimed to speak for God and be God, ever did this. No one, except Jesus.

I was adopted when I was a few months old. I was an orphan and even though I was adopted, I remained an orphan, separated from God, for far too many years. Every time that I read this scripture, it grabs me because I realize, in a very real way, what it means to be alone, what it means to be not wanted. And this wasn’t because of God’s will, it was because of my own will.

Yet God, through His grace and mercy, adopted me, through His Son, and now I am part of God’s family. But even more important, aside from being part of God’s family, is the part where Jesus says, “The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” That’s me and that’s you, if we trust and believe in who Jesus is and what He has done. Jesus had indeed showed Himself to me. No, I haven’t seen Him but I’ve been in His presence and I have experienced His love, time and time again.

In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Being in the company of Jesus changes things. He changes how we think, He changes how we act and He changes how we see. Key words there are “being in the company of Jesus”. No, it doesn’t happen all at once, it’s like any relationship that is a real relationship, it deepens over time, our understanding and appreciation continually increases.

I’ve been married for 49 years. I don’t respond or treat my wife like I did when we were first married. I’ve gained understanding and appreciation along the way. And so it is with our relationship with Jesus. Fortunately Jesus is patient and long suffering.

But there is more in these words that Jesus spoke to the Apostles and disciples prior to His crucification and resurrection. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” We are talking about obedience to the commandments that Jesus gave us. Obedience, doing what Jesus asks us to do. We can’t really walk with Jesus in our lives without coming under His guidance and authority. That part isn’t optional. When we become yoked to Him, He takes the lead, it’s the way it is and I’m grateful for that because I’ve really given it a good shot at taking the lead and it didn’t work out well at all. And candidly, when I started my walk with Jesus, I had no idea how far off course I was. There’s a correlation there with marriage too, if you look for it.

Perfect obedience? No, the me in me is still there, selfish thoughts still appear, sometimes selfish actions too, but not for long and not without His correction. It’s progressive and won’t be throughly completed until we see Him face to face, when these bodies that we live in are gone and replaced with a new body like His. If we confess our sins and take steps to correct our ways, He forgives us. Forgiving others like He forgives us is a biggie with God.

But there’s more: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.” The Spirt of Christ lives in me! God’s Holy Spirit, dwells within me and you, if we truly follow Him as our Lord.

Of course, if we are not taking our lead from Jesus, but only giving Him lip service, that’s not a relationship. Can you imagine only touching base with your wife or husband for an hour a week and then calling that a marriage? That’s obviously not a marriage and touching base with God for an hour or so a week isn’t a relationship either. It took me a long time to figure that out. Big difference!

So I’m not an orphan anymore! Praise God! And I’m not alone! Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). It’s sad that so many never come to understand this. It’s sad that they settle for only what they can see and never experience the reality of a loving and forgiving God, made possible by the Son of God, being obedient to the Father, and laying down His life for us, so that we, like Him, can truly live again.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

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